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Energy, Science, Technology, Environment, and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin. - NSTP/AHMAD IRHAM MOHD NOOR.

PUTRAJAYA: Indonesia should conduct an investigation and take action against those who have violated its laws regarding forest fires in the country, said Energy, Science, Technology, Environment, and Climate Change Minister Yeo Bee Yin.

She said Indonesia has full authority to enforce the law on their land.

“They also have full power to put out the fire on their land.

“Malaysia has already conveyed the message that we will support them in any way possible. We are ready, if and when they accept the offer from us,” she told reporters after attending a special cabinet committee meeting on government’s Shared Prosperity Vision today.

She added that Aseas countries did not have specific law on trans-boundary haze, therefore enforcement was based on legislation of the respective country.

“According to reports that I have read, there are about 30 companies responsible for the forest fires in Indonesia.

“We believe that the Indonesian government will investigate and take action against those responsible,” she said.

Yeo said it was important for Malaysia to carry out cloud seeding to tackle the haze problem, albeit being a temporary measure.

“If we can, we want to go into Indonesia to help the government to put out the fire as fast as we can. They have not asked us for assistance so far,” she said, adding that

An Indonesian fireman sprays water on the burning land in Pekanbaru, Riau province, Indonesia, 13 September 2019. According to media reports, Indonesian authorities prepares for more land fires in Sumatra and Borneo island that may impact the neighbouring countries, Singapore and Malaysia. - EPA/STRINGER

cloud seeding would be carried out in a few days depending on cloud condition.

“We will be doing more cloud seeding if the situation permits. Malaysian Meteorological Department and Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) are prepared and are waiting for the right time to carry out the next cloud seeding,” she said.

It was reported yesterday that Indonesia had dismissed complaints by Malaysians about hazardous smoke drifting from its forest fires across the border, saying blazes were also raging in parts of Malaysia and on Malaysian-owned plantations in Indonesia.

In an escalating row over the haze, it was also reported that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad would write to Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo to raise concerns about cross-border haze.

The Education Ministry has ordered the closure of hundreds schools and sent half a million face masks to Sarawak last week, after the haze situation recorded unhealthy level.

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